If you read yesterday's post, you'll know I was suffering some major angst over this morning's 20 mile run. A day makes a world of difference. One of my Runner's World quotes of the day this week was "Relish the bad training runs. Without them it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones." Having had plenty of experience this summer with the former, I really needed one of the latter to see if this was indeed true. I'm very happy to report that it is.
The morning came early, my alarm going off at 5 am. I got out of bed, slapped my carefully laid out clothes on, gathered my camelback and cooler, and headed to Longleaf Trace in the pitch dark. The weather this week has been everything a Mississippi fall should be, but rarely is, and I set off in the darkness feeling a little colder than I really like to be. But, I'll take that right now. I can complain about the cold after the marathon. And I will. Never doubt it.
I started off listening to the Rick & Bubba show on my Ipod, but soon pulled the earphone out to just soak in the quiet darkness. Strange and scary critters crossed my path in the darkness, but none thought I was enough of a threat to investigate. I spent a long time talking to God, lifting up my prayers and praising the wonder of the morning. I watched the sunrise slowly pink the sky, then lighten the woods around me and illuminate the path. Before long, the strange dark critters become cute little bunnies and fast and funny squirrels. By the time the sun was fully up, I had 8 miles behind me. The temperature warmed a little, but now just felt wonderful. In some of my reading recently, I came across this statement, "True wisdom comes when you see the extraordinary nature of ordinary things." This morning was filled with ordinary things that seemed extraordinary. I think it had a lot to do with my heightened sense of awareness, the pleasure of moving through the morning - goal set, then met.
On mile 18, God rewarded me with a doe scampering across my path, followed shortly by her tiny fawn. The fawn was spotted and not as fast as its mother, and it was very curious about me. I slowed my pace (which wasn't terribly fast anyway) and crept up on it as silently as I could. The fawn simply stood and watched me, not running away even when my run/walk timer buzzed every 30 seconds. I started taking off my camel back to fish my phone out in order to get a picture, but the new movement was more than the fawn would tolerate and it wandered off in search of its mom. I watched it move, gracefully and with purpose, then picked my pace back up to finish.
The last mile was pretty tough, but I kept on pushing and before I knew it, the end was at hand. Having had so many bad runs over the last months, this one was balm to my soul. Some of my confidence has returned. I have two more 20 + milers before the big day, but after today, I don't think I'll be dreading them. In fact, I think I'll really look forward to them. One of them will be at the beach!
As I prayed this morning, I asked God to dress me in His armor. He was faithful, as always, and poured out His blessing on my day. I'm a tired, but very happy old broad this evening.